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Feb. 5, 2023

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Camas North Shore Development to 2,900 residential units, 1,400 new jobs

Camas City Council to adopt 990-acre plan on Nov. 21


CAMAS — Camas officials have approved a subarea plan that will guide future development in the city’s North Shore, a mostly undeveloped 990-acre area north of Lacamas Lake.

On Nov. 7, nearly three weeks after the Camas Planning Commission unanimously approved the subarea plan, the city council heard from North Shore property owners who support its final adoption.

“My hope is that North Shore will someday become a part of our city that the entire community can be proud of,” said Lynn Johnston, owner of a large piece of North Shore property that used to house the family’s dairy. “I believe this subarea plan will serve as the foundation for that to happen and that the city council’s (approval) tonight will be a big step in making that a reality.”

City officials annexed much of the North Shore into the city in 2008, and approved a 460-acre “Lacamas Northshore” mixed-use development on the Johnson Dairy property in 2013, with those initial plans calling for a mix of light industrial, commercial and residential properties.

The Johnson Dairy owners “took the lead in trying to showcase the (area) for economic development,” said Camas Planning Manager Robert Maul. But developers had concerns, including a lack of access points for light industrial uses, so the plans city leaders once promoted for the North Shore did not materialize.

In 2018, the city began a subarea planning process to better determine the North Shore’s future.

“It is a specific and special area,” Maul said Monday. “The subarea plan addresses everything from housing needs (to) jobs, (infrastructure), schools, parks and recreation — all of those elements go into our planning.”

The city approved a North Shore vision statement in September 2020. It calls for:

  • Protecting the area’s natural environment, shorelines and tree groves.
  • Planning a network of green spaces and recreational opportunities.
  • Clustering uses for a more walkable community.
  • Providing a variety of housing options, including some more-affordable housing.
  • Siting industrial parks and commercial centers to the north, away from the lake.
  • Favoring small businesses, including restaurants, cafes and grocery stores that would serve residents and workers in the North Shore.
  • Planning for needed schools and infrastructure.
  • Ensuring that adequate roads, schools and utilities are in place before development occurs.
  • Maintaining Camas’ “small-town feel.”
  • Having phased, sustainable growth.

Consultants presented a “preferred concept” to city council members on Nov. 7, showing a central plaza in the middle of the North Shore with zones slated for higher- and lower-density residential developments; mixed-use commercial-residential; a “North Shore Boulevard”; plenty of open space and parks land along Lacamas Lake; room for public facilities, including Lacamas Lake Elementary School; and a “mixed employment” business park zone located on flat land along the North Shore’s north-northeast edge, farthest away from the lake.

The consultants’ plan estimates private development in the North Shore will add 2,969 residential units or around 8,000 future Camasonians, as well as nearly 1,400 new jobs.

The council directed the city’s attorney to draft an ordinance to adopt the North Shore subarea plan at the council’s next meeting on Nov. 21.